Harry Junior Computer Engineer


With one in five computers now being infetcted with viruses you have every reason to be paranoid about viruses, but what do we know about Spyware and what can we do to prevent Spyware infestation...

Terms and Definitions

Is a relatively new kind of threat that common anti-virus applications do not yet cover. If you see new toolbars in your Internet Explorer that you didn't intentionally install, if your browser crashes, or if you browser start page (homepage) has changed without your knowing, you most probably have spyware. But even if you don't see anything, you may be infected, because more and more spyware is emerging that is silently tracking your surfing behaviour to create a marketing profile of you that will be sold to advertisement companies.

Spyware applications collect information, may or may not install in stealth, and are designed to transmit that information to 2nd, or 3rd parties covertly employing the user's connection without their consent and knowledge. The word defines the actual intent; this is software (ware) that is designed to collect information in secret (spy).

This is content that is designed to display advertising to the user that may not be expected or wanted. While some also categorize advertising applications that may include tracking features or capabilities as Adware, we place them within more descriptive categories such as Trackware or Data Miner to provide more information to the user. Most often included in freeware bundles or as additional (and/or required) content with shareware. Adware is generally innocuous and consumers may want to remove this content if they no longer wish to receive the advertising content. They may wish to keep them though if the programs are required for the use of a host application.

Data Miner:
Applications designed to collect information about the user and does so actively. This may or may not include transmission of the information to a remote server, but the server is owned by the company producing the detected application and more importantly, the information collected is disclosed to the user via privacy policy and/or licensing.

Malicious software designed to do harm to a user's system or to other systems that is not specifically a VIRUS.

Monitoring Tools:
This category defines software such as remote access Trojans (RATs), Root Kits, etc.

Applications designed to change the user's DUN (Dial Up Networking) settings to dial numbers that the user does not know about, to connect to a number in stealth, and/or to avoid being detected by the user such as dialing expensive connections where the user has not authorized the connection.

This category is separate from Data Miners in that it is passive in nature. This category can and does include content such as tracking cookies and those that collect only anonymous information like GUID's and/or sites visited, etc and does not include personally identifiable information.

The application employs the use of a software or system exploit to install and/or operate.

This category is for applications that are designed to record and/or transmit keystroke information.

Annoyware This is a special type of Adware that causes an excessive number of popups/popunders, is designed to force advertising even when not connected to the internet, can cause noticeable system and/or bandwidth slowdowns, and in general is intrusive to the point of frustrating the system user.

Hijacker These applications are designed to hijack the user's home page, HOSTS file, browser favorites, chosen search engine, and/or system settings.

All Systems built, administered, serviced or repaired by Harry Junior are returned with up-to-date: Firewall, Virusware and Spyware installations, this ensures your computer is adequately protected. However, it is often the case end-users fail to keep these products regularly updated; this neglect can lead to unnecessary expensive repairs, identity theft and a lot of upset.

Hitcount and Stats by Harry Junior